For many of us, achieving financial independence is a lifelong pursuit. It can take decades to build up the assets we need to afford to retire! Although the salary you earn is one of the best resources you have to help build financial independence, it’s not the only resource. Many employers offer valuable benefits that can help get you one step closer to achieving financial independence. Here are just a few you should be taking full advantage of:

401(k) match. While not required, most employers offer some form of 401(k) match. If your company does offer a match, try to take full
advantage of that; it’s free money in your pocket and can accelerate your growth towards financial independence. Additionally, because 401(k) contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, they can help reduce your tax bill at the end of the year by reducing your taxable income in the year you contribute.

Health and insurance plans. Health-related costs can have a heavy impact on your financial goals. Your employer may offer health insurance, disability, and life insurance options that can play a big part in reducing major health care expenses. Consider contributing to an HSA, if available, which can lower your tax liability. Also, take advantage of any ongoing wellness benefits to ensure you’re in good health for years to come.

Employee stock purchase program (ESPP). This company-run program allows participating employees to purchase company stock at a
discounted price. Employees contribute to the plan through payroll deductions which accumulate between the offering date and the purchase date. At the purchase date, the company uses the employee’s accumulated funds to purchase stock in the company on behalf of the participating employees.

Professional development programs. These programs are sponsored by your employer to help employees learn new skills. New skills can equal promotion and increased salary! The scope and depth of the programs depend on the size of your company – some may offer a few workshops, others may sponsor an advanced degree like an MBA. Either way, they can help you get ahead at your current employer or take the step to a new employer!

These are just four examples. You may have many more employer benefits at your disposal so be sure to have a solid understanding of
what’s available and take advantage of them. Have a question about your benefits? Start with your human resources department regarding your specific plan. If you need help figuring out what employee benefits would be the most advantageous for you, contact our office and let’s discuss!